The Corio Oval tribe: Geelong Football Club in colonial times

Pennings, Mark W. & Pascoe, Robert (2011) The Corio Oval tribe: Geelong Football Club in colonial times. In Hess, Robert & Klugman, Matthew (Eds.) Imperialism & Colonialism, Mantra on Salt Beach, Kingscliff, NSW.


Geelong, Victoria’s second city, has an AFL football club whose culture and identity is closely tied to the city itself. An analysis of its playing group for the colonial period demonstrates that this local tribalism began early. As football became professionalised towards the end of the nineteenth century, country Victoria lost power in relative terms to metropolitan Melbourne: for example, Ballarat’s three main clubs lost their senior status. But Geelong, with its one remaining senior club, prospered and was admitted to the VFL ranks in 1897. The Geelong players were the sons and nephews of the Western District squattocracy and so had access to networks of power and influence. Many attended the prestigious Geelong Grammar School and the worthy Geelong College (in surprisingly equal numbers). They pursued careers both on the land and in professional roles, and maintained the social connections they had built through the club and other local institutions. Despite their elite standing, however, they continued to be regarded by the supporter base as an embodiment of the city and a defence against the city’s Melbourne critics that Geelong was a mere ‘sleepy hollow’.

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ID Code: 49851
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Geelong (Vic.), Australian football – history and culture, Western District (Vic.) – history
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000)
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 The authors.
Deposited On: 25 Apr 2012 22:46
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 23:54

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